October 20, 2008

Tech Tackles Head of the Charles

Oct. 19, 2008

CAMBRIDGE, Mass. – The women’s openweight crew began its fall season this weekend at home, competing in the 44th Annual Head of the Charles Regatta. The largest two-day rowing competition in the world, the race utilizes MIT as a host institution.

The Engineers fielded a championship eight on Sunday as well as a club eight on Saturday. Also on the women’s side, MIT entered a club four that was half openweight and half lightweight rowers while the lightweight squad fielded an eight and a four.

Saturday’s racing was in wonderful conditions, slightly on the breezy side but with plenty of sunshine. The club four struggled to find it’s rhythm, as members of the two women’s squads worked their hardest to blend into a unified crew only a week before the race. Finishing 34th out of 39 entries, the crew finished ahead of alumnae from Williams and just behind graduates of Northeastern.

The club eight rowed very well, and was much faster than the respective crew racing for MIT last year. Even so, the field was faster as well, and the crew finished 25th of 45, just behind Radcliffe and ahead of Holy Cross, Wellesley, and Army, among many others. While Grace Lin handled the turn at Weeks Footbridge masterfully, the crew’s oars got briefly entangled with Holy Cross, but they rowed through it and took a clean line through Anderson and around the bend toward Eliot.

In the final event on Sunday, the championship eight rowed an exceptional race despite high wind, with coxswain Celena Chan steering a near-perfect course. Just ahead in the starting order was URI, who proved to be fast enough to slowly walk away throughout the race. Just behind was Holy Cross, who fell back and never challenged the Engineers. In the end, Tech finished 31st of 38, a somewhat disappointing place given the quality of the piece. Even so, the squad came in faster than UMass and Holy Cross, both of whom the team will face again in the spring.

“You can always hope for a better place in the end, but I and the team are very satisfied with this weekend’s racing,” reported Holly Metcalf. “It was our first race of the year, and we faced up against some of the best rowers in the world. The effort and the concentration were unflagging for all the crews we fielded, and that will be essential to continue through the rest of the fall and beyond.”

Next the team heads to New Jersey for the Princeton Chase on Sunday.

Championship Eight
C – Celena Chan
8 – Tess Saxton-Fox
7 – Leslie Sprague
6 – Catherine Crowley
5 – Megan O’Donnell
4 – Jane Wolcott
3 – Ariana Chehrazi
2 – Genevieve Russo
1 – Inessa Liskovich

Club Eight
C – Grace Lin
8 – Alice Ainsworth
7 – Jenna Sternberg
6 – Allison Hinckley
5 – Megan Bowman
4 – Allison Simi
3 – Rachel Clary
2 – Lauren Sless
1 – Sarah Simon

Club Four
C – Man-Yan Lam
4 – Brianna Woeckener
3 – Becca Heywood
2 – Clarion Hess
1 – Emma Jeffries